Final words on “As a Tiger in the Jungle” – and the future challenge for ChoraChori

Nepal performers Aman Tamang and Renu Ghalan in circus performanceBetween April and June 2019, contemporary circus show “As a Tiger in the Jungle” enjoyed a hugely successful tour of top venues across England and Wales, including the Glastonbury Festival. Nepalese performers Aman and Renu have now returned to Nepal but leave behind a powerful legacy of memorable performances and poignant messages.

Through “As a Tiger in the Jungle” Aman and Renu shared their experience of being trafficked from Nepal into slavery as “child performers”. See this previous blog post that gives the detail of this remarkable production. Between performances, they would take time out to give interviews on television and radio, ensuring that their message wasn’t confined only to those who attended the shows. Click on the image above to see their appearance on BBC Southeast during their visit to Brighton.

In May they laid on a special charity performance at Stratford Circus in London in support of ChoraChori’s Big Give summer appeal. Afterwards, ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes addressed the audience in which he reflected on his organisation’s previous rescue work of Philip Holmes, Founder ChoraChorihundreds of children, including Aman and Renu, and how the contemporary circus training had started out in 2011. Then he called for public support for the greater challenge that lies ahead, as ChoraChori tackles the burgeoning issue of child rape in Nepal. When you read press articles such as this one from last week’s Kathmandu Post, it brings sharply into focus just how much needs to be done – even in ensuring appropriate police management of survivors. You can see an extract of Philip’s speech by clicking on his image above.

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Gates of Bronze

ChoraChori Founder Philip Holmes has published his memoir, Gates of Bronze, telling the remarkable story of how he responded to his first wife’s suicide by rescuing scores of Nepalese children from prisons, slavery, trafficking and exploitation.

In his book Philip quotes Winston Churchill who wrote “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm” and that has been Philip’s mantra for his twenty years of charitable work in Nepal. Through Gates of Bronze he tells how he responded to the suicide of his first wife, Esther Benjamins, by leaving a promising career as a British Army dental officer to set up a children’s charity in her memory. Working with passionate and committed colleagues in Nepal, he headed up programmes that rescued children from prisons, circus slavery, trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Yes, there has been setback after setback, but Philip can now reflect on operations that rescued over 1,000 children, restoring freedom and childhoods and giving them a chance in life.

The dramatic and moving narrative is illustrated by Philip’s own sketches and by colour photographs, many of which were taken by professional photographers who covered Philip’s work. Gates of Bronze is published by Juntara and can be purchased through this site where there is also a download option. 10% of the sale price is donated to ChoraChori’s ongoing work in Nepal.

Journalist and historian biographer Anne Sebba writes:

“Philip Holmes is a natural storyteller but also a fighter with endless enthusiasm which shines through these pages. It’s impossible not to read this book without believing that some people have the power to move mountains. He may be one of them.”

As a Tiger in the Jungle returns to UK!

Nepalese contemporary circus performers Aman Tamang and Renu Ghalan return to UK to stage their acclaimed show about child trafficking, “As a Tiger in the Jungle”.

We are delighted to let you know that Cirkus Xanti (Norway) and Ali Williams Productions will once again present their poignant and heart-warming performance about rescued child slaves from Indian traditional circus. Through the show, two performers from Nepal, Renu and Aman, both child trafficking survivors, ask questions about life, love, poverty and greed. Using the spoken word, movement, circus and ceremony, they tell the story of how, against all odds, they survived child slavery to create their own destiny. To get a glimpse of their breath-taking skills, click on the image on the left for a preview.

Aman and Renu are just two of the 700 Nepalese children who were liberated from circus slavery during the period 2004-2011 when ChoraChori co-Founder Philip Holmes was based in Nepal and headed up the anti trafficking programme. This show highlights a tragedy that still befalls hundreds of Nepalese children every year, albeit into different situations.

Here are the venues and dates for your diary:

4 April:             Enableus Fest Sheffield University, Octagon Centre, Clarkson Street, Sheffield, S10 2TQ
16 April:           Ffwrnes Park Street, Llanelli, SA15 3YE
17 – 18 April:  Circomedia Portland Square, St Paul’s, Bristol,BS2 8SJ
2 – 3 May:       Riverfront Theatre King’s Way, Newport, NP60 1HG
9 May:              Lincoln Drill Hall Free School Lane, Lincoln, LN2 1EY
12 May:            Aberystwyth Arts Centre Penglais Campus, University of Aberystwyth SY23 3DE
17 May:            Stratford Circus Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Theatre Square, Stratford, London, E15 1BX
22 – 25 May:  Brighton Fringe Brighton Open Air Theatre, Park Dyke Road, Hove,BN3 6EH
29 May:           Warwick Arts Centre University of Warwick, Coventry,CV4 7AL
31 May:            The Civic in Barnsley Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ
6 June:             Salisbury Festival Salisbury Playhouse
7 – 8 June:      Theatre Brycheniog Canal Wharf, Brecon, LD3 7EW
14 June:           Galeri Doc Victoria, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SQ
21 – 23 June: Theatr Mwldan Bath House Road, Cardigan SA43 1JY
26 – 30 June: Glastonbury Festival Worthy Farm, Worthy Lane, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4BY

The 17th May performance will be a special ticket-only event for ChoraChori supporters and friends. Please let us know if you would like to attend. If you can’t make any of these venues or dates please make a donation using the button below. Thanks!

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Former circus slaves on tour in the UK with “As a Tiger in the Jungle”

Ali with the kidsA very special circus tour

Former circus slaves Aman and Renu are about to tour the UK with their poignant contemporary circus show “As a Tiger in the Jungle”. The dynamic Ali Williams (pictured left) is hosting them and clearly catering for their every need.

Nepali child slaves inside Indian circuses

Aman and Renu are but two of hundreds of trafficked Nepali children who were trapped in a life of slavery and exploitation as “performers” inside Indian circuses. ChoraChori team members Philip Holmes, Shailaja CM, Rita Mokhtan and Bhaskar Karki were involved in securing their freedom through dangerous rescue operations launched in conjunction with the Indian and Nepali authorities. Aman was one of the first five children to be freed in January 2004. Philip and Shailaja freed Renu from the misery of the Raj Mahal Circus in June 2008. At the time of their rescue Aman and Renu couldn’t have guessed what lay ahead for them.

circus slavesCircus Kathmandu

Most former circus slaves returned to their families after repatriation. However for many it was just too dangerous to return them for the risk of re-trafficking. Other education and training options had to be considered. One of these – and the most bizarre – was the creation of Circus Kathmandu. This was a contemporary circus group as opposed to the “traditional” style of the Indian circus. Circus Kathmandu gave young people the chance to enjoy the stardom that traffickers had promised them falsely. The group went on tour to Australia, Dubai, Norway and in 2014 played at the world-famous Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

As a Tiger in the Jungle

Ali Williams was a central figure in the development of Circus Kathmandu, spending a year in Kathmandu in 2013 as its Creative Director. After her return to UK Ali used her background at NoFitState Circus in Wales and professional contacts at Circus Xanti in Norway to create “As a Tiger in the Jungle”. This dazzling new show is due to tour in both Norway and UK in late 2017. Aman and Renu will perform alongside a Vietnamese performer, Loan Tp Hoang, in a very poignant show. Through the medium of contemporary circus they will recount tales of lost childhood (the tiger is a metaphor for the trafficker) and their ultimate triumph over tragedy.

UK tour dates

If you are in UK don’t miss the chance to see the show at one of the following venues:

20th September   The Black-E Liverpool

22nd/23rd September   Birmingham Repertory Theatre

8th October   Pontio, Bangor, Wales

10th/11th October   Jacksons Lane, Highgate, London

15th/16th October   Circomedia Bristol

24th/25th October   WMC, Cardiff

At the official UK premiere on the 22nd September Philip Holmes will be bursting with pride in the audience!

 

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